Doubtless you are now familiar with the entirely bogus Auto Express ‘survey’ of offences committed by cyclists and motorists at Highbury Corner; the most notable ‘offences’ committed by cyclists including not wearing hi-visibility clothing, and that of not wearing a helmet, which together make up a staggering 54% of all the cycling ‘offences’ counted by the Auto Express plodders.
The Alternative Department for Transport has already conducted its own survey of offences committed by Auto Express staff, finding (scientifically, of course) that 78% of them are shitebags. However, the Auto Express poll puts me in mind of some other common offences that cyclists commit, which for some reason weren’t counted by their staff – ‘loitering with intent to use a pedestrian crossing’, ‘smelling of foreign food’, ‘coughing without due care and attention’, ‘cycling in a loud shirt in a built up area during the hours of darkness’, or indeed ‘cycling around with an offensive wife.’
A good job that Auto Express journalists aren’t police officers.
Even if we take their absurd survey seriously, it doesn’t quite show what Auto Express believe it to. The most damaging statistic, at face value, is that 58 of the 974 cyclists observed jumped the lights – 5.9% of the total – while only 0.4% of the 3140 cars observed did the same.
However, if we include the listed offences of crossing the stop line and waiting in the advanced cycle stop box – we find that 178 cars technically jumped the lights. This is a percentage of the total number of cars of 5.6% – very similar to the percentage of cyclists committing this offence.
This is even before we take into account the fact that a substantial percentage of those 3140 cars observed would not have had the opportunity to jump the lights; they would have been stuck in a queue, trapped behind other vehicles, whereas nearly every single cyclist would have had the opportunity to cross the stop line on each red signal. So what the Auto Express survey has actually shown is that motorists are in fact more predisposed to jumping red lights than people on bicycles.
I trust that will be the headline result in their print edition.